A few of my favorite posts

This is something I’ve meant to do for a long time now…a collection of some of my favorite posts from over the years. I’ll include some of my wedding blog posts too!

We are…heartbroken (Nov. 15, 2011)

What’s in a name? (Nov. 28, 2007)

Like a horse and carriage (Feb. 15, 2006)

Friday ponderings (Jan. 21, 2005)

You can learn how to be you in time (Dec. 9, 2004)

That’s it for now…possibly to be amended later.

Like a horse and carriage

As an unmarried woman in my thirties, I realize that I am in an ever-shrinking minority. The number of weddings I’ve attended is probably higher than my math SAT score. I’ve even been a bridesmaid in a few. But the more weddings I go to, the more I listen to people around me talk, the more surprised I am at how many people get completely caught up in the wedding instead of thinking about the marriage. I’ve watched wedding fever transform normally sane, level-headed women into raging lunatics.

When I was about 22, fresh out of college and looking to start a new life with my then-boyfriend, weddings were all I could think about. I made lists of who I would invite, lists of songs I wanted played at my reception. I imagined what my dress would look like, what my bridesmaids would wear, where the reception would be held. I had it all planned, in my head. But when my fairy-tale college romance ended, all my plans came crashing down around me. What am I supposed to do now, I wondered. I’d had it all planned out. I’d be married by 25, have a couple of kids (a boy and a girl) by the time I was 30. We’d have a house and great careers, and of course, we’d live happily-ever-after. My heart was broken; my dreams shattered. He was supposed to be The One. My Soulmate. My One True Love.

For the next couple of years, every wedding I went to (and I went to a lot) was like a knife in my heart. I cried at a lot of them…not out of joy for what the bride and groom were sharing, but for what I was missing. At the same time, I was working part time for a wedding photographer. I became more and more bitter with every wedding album I assembled. Some days, it would be too much, and I would sit in the back room and cry.

Eventually, I started dating again, and became even more discouraged. Maybe, I thought, I was doomed to be alone forever. Maybe K was my only chance at happiness and he was gone. I obsessed over my two conflicting fears–the fear of settling vs. the fear of being alone…forever.

After a while, I moved away from home and moved on. I met someone and fell in love again. X started talking about marriage pretty early on in the relationship, and because he talked about it, I thought about it. I started looking at engagement rings, and dresses, and wondering what my bridesmaids would wear to match his kilt. Unlike with K’s family, I got along fantastically with his family and would have been happy to have them as in-laws. But the closer these things got to reality, the more X pulled away.

I so desperately wanted X to be the one. I wanted to be done. No more looking. No more wondering. No more waiting. I wanted to be safe in the arms of the one who was going to hold me for the rest of our lives.

Shortly after the disastrous breakup, my younger cousin got married. I remember thinking about how unfair it was…I think it was then that I realized that it wasn’t her wedding that I was jealous of. It wasn’t the church or the white dress or the flowers or anything else. It was the fact that this man had asked my cousin to share his life with him. It was the fact that he had been sure enough to want to promise to always love and cherish her.

That was what I was longing for. Someone to be with me, to love me, to promise to grow old with me. I wanted a partner. I wanted someone to say “I choose you.”

Over the years, as I watched both friends and strangers get married, I started to realize how important the details are to some people. The size of the diamond. Where (and how) he proposed. The number of bridesmaids. The cost per head. The need to be a “princess” on Your Big Day.

The older I get, the less important these things are to me. Maybe, when I was 22, they were important. But last year, at one of the weddings I went to, I said I wanted to run away and get married on a beach somewhere, and I was only half-kidding.

I have no interest in registering for fine china or silver. I think bridal showers are boring and silly (the games. the bow bouquets. the door prizes. the watching the bride open gifts for two hours). I really don’t want the spectacle. Give me a small gathering of friends and family, if you must

I know I couldn’t ever really elope…too many people would be hurt, and that’s not what I want. But I expect that my compromise will be to keep it simple. Low-key. Because when it comes right down to it, none of it matters that much. What really matters is me and him, together, loving each other.

I couldn’t care less about being a princess for a day. What I do care about is being his wife…his love…his partner…for a lifetime.

A whole year? Already? :)

When the world takes you down
you can always depend on me now
and I’ll forever be around
to tell you I need you…

Something True, Einstein’s Sister

One year ago today, my life was changed forever.

Of course, I didn’t completely know that at the time. 😉 That night, meeting Rand in person for the first time for drinks and darts at Brew Pub, I couldn’t have known how I’d feel today.

I knew he was interesting, funny and smart. I knew he was someone I would want to have in my life. I knew that I wanted to see him again.

A week later, after our second date, I wrote about our meeting in my journal.

He hugged me good night, and I left smiling.

I have to agree with one of his aunts, whom I just met the other night…he gives the best hugs. Just one of the many, many things I adore about him. Here are a few more…

I love his intelligence, his humor, his wit.

I love his passion for the people and things he cares deeply about. I love listening to him “nerd out” about music, film, religion, comic books…etc…

I love his singing voice.

I love his kindness, his generosity, his open-mindedness.

I love his friends and family.

I love the way he takes care of me, without ever making me feel like I need to be “taken care of.”

I love his eyes, and the way those eyes look at me.

I love the way he “gets” me…whenever he’s recommended a book, a movie, a TV show (on DVD, of course!) to me, I’ve not once been disappointed.

I love his silly, playful side.

I love the calming effect he has on me.

I love the way he truly appreciates me.

I love all of these things, and so, so much more, and I am so thankful that he is in my life.

The secret life of bees

No, this isn’t a book post.


I’ve written before about how much I hate bees. Loathe them. Terrified of them.

I’m aware that no one likes bees. No one has ever gotten stung and said, “Hey, that’s fun!” But my fear borders on the ridiculous.

And the other night, I was talking to Rand about my fear of needles.

I hate needles, too. Once, when I was a reporter back home, I was doing a story on a local doctor who was practicing acupuncture. He invited me to come and watch a procedure, and I was fine. Fine. Until suddenly, I apparently passed out. I was standing there, taking photos of the acupuncture, and then I was sitting in a chair with a nurse beside me whipping out the smelling salts.

The first time I had an IV inserted was when I was 23 or so, when I was having my wisdom teeth removed. I was actually in tears when the anesthesiologist came in, because I was afraid of the big, scary needle…

Point? For the first time in my life, I connected these two fears.

“Bees are like flying needles,” I exclaimed.

So there ya go.

On love…

Lately, I’ve been reminded of a Clint Black song that came out back in 2001 called Something That We Do. I’ve always thought it was a terribly romantic song…he wrote it for his wife, about their marriage and their relationship, and to me, it’s a perfect example of what it means to have a mature loving relationship.

We help to make each other all that we can be
Though we can find our strength and inspiration independently
The way we work together is what sets our love apart
So closely that you can’t tell where I end and where you start

I think that a lot of the time, when we think of love, we think of that thrilling rush we feel the first time. Maybe that’s why first loves are so hard to get over. We express our feelings in terms of need. We identify this person as “completing” us…which of course assumes that we were unfinished in the first place and in need of completion. Romantic, yes, but maybe not the healthiest of feelings.

I felt that way with K, and when we broke up, I was sure I would never find it again…and in a way, I was right, because it never feels quite like it did that first time. But on the other hand, what we feel that second or third time around is in some ways better. It’s about knowing you have a full and complete life on your own, but wanting someone to share it with. It’s about having a true partnership. It’s about your mutual respect and desire for the other person. And most of all, it’s realizing that love is more than an abstract emotion.

It’s a verb.

Friday ponderings

I got a pleasant little surprise in my inbox a few minutes ago. Just a little note of validation for which I am extremely grateful. I think that we (“we” being the collective universe of bloggers) sometimes wonder if anyone really cares. We all have moments of self-doubt…am I boring? Does anybody really want to read about my stupid life? So sometimes finding out that, yes, someone does, can make your day. Thank you. 🙂

And for a complete change of direction…today, I want to write about January 21, 2001.

I had just moved to Buffalo the previous summer. Other than college, this was my first move away from home. I come from a very close family…meaning my extended family….grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins. I hadn’t seen (or really talked to anyone but my parents) since Christmas. I had spent Saturday evening, the 20th, hanging out and catching up with an old friend from college. I got in around midnight, then hung out for a while with Jen and her then-boyfriend who were in the living room watching TV. I think we watched Iron Chef. I went to bed, probably close to 3.

A little before noon, the phone rang. I got up to answer it, which was kind of unusual. It was my dad, and it was obvious there was something wrong.

“Your grandma’s in the hospital.”

I didn’t know which grandma he meant. Neither of them was sick.

Grandma Angie, my mother’s mother, had collapsed in her bedroom Saturday night after complaining of a headache. A blood vessel had burst in her brain. She was in a coma, and wasn’t expected to come out of it. I told my father I was coming home, assured him that I was okay to drive. I hastily packed a bag and explained to my roommates that I had to go home. I didn’t take a shower. I asked Jen if I could borrow some CDs for the trip.

I cried for the entire two and a half hour drive.

I’m the oldest grandchild on both sides of my family. Not to give the impression that I don’t love my other grandparents, because I do, but I had a special relationship with my mom’s parents. I spent the night there frequently when I was young. Angie was the grandma I baked cookies with, the one who made the world’s best pies and homemade bread. She was the one who told me stories and sang me to sleep.

She was only 77. She was supposed to see me get married.

Her name was Angelina, which she never liked, and I never understood why. But she was always Angie.

I got to the hospital, where everyone was waiting. When I got there, a priest was praying the rosary in her hospital room. It was obvious, then…not that there was any life left in her at this point. She was already gone.

Thankfully, my mom and her brothers and sisters were spared the agony of having to decide whether or not to take her off the respirator. She went on her own, and we stood there, holding each other and crying.

My grandma collected angels. Angel figurines of all different types. Grandpa keeps her “angel table” up in the house.

I had never lost anyone very close to me before. A couple of great aunts. My great-grandparents on my father’s side. This was my first real confrontation with death.

I still miss her. We all do…

And on a happier note, I make note of this now because it is unlikely that I will be blogging tomorrow…tomorrow it is six months since R and I officially met. I am still amazed by him each and every day. R, thank you for answering my initial message, for “bravely showing up” at Brew Pub to meet me, and for being the smartest, kindest, most thoughtful, affectionate and sweet man I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. 🙂

You can learn how to be you in time

Four men have told me that they loved me. Three of them broke my heart. The fourth, well, I suppose I broke his a little.

The first one was young love, high school love, which is sort of in a class all by itself. J and I had been dating for a couple of months, and I had traveled to see him compete in the regional wrestling competition. I was staying with my aunt’s soon-to-be stepdaughter, and one of the nights, I was talking to J on the phone before he went to bed. He said it, and it took me quite by surprise…but that feeling, I’ll never forget that feeling of warmth that spread through me.

“I love you too,” I somehow squeaked out.

I was fifteen years old. I know that I didn’t really know what love meant then. Unfortunately, not long after this sweet, tender moment, it would come to mean yelling, fighting, tears, hurling insults, fear, insecurity and hurt. That relationship was about pain.

It was K who taught me that love didn’t have to hurt. We got together my sophomore year of college, and once we admitted our attraction to one another, we became inseparable. After a whirlwind month, we went to my sorority’s fall date function together. We were dancing and singing to “Paradise by the Dashboard Light,” him singing the guy part, me singing the girl part. After the Do you love me/Let me sleep on it exchange, he pulled me close to him and said “I wouldn’t have to sleep on it.”

Later, when we were alone back in my dorm room, we said the actual words to each other. He was my first real love, the first man to make me feel truly safe, happy and cared for. It was sweet, genuine, and maybe a little bit naive.

He didn’t give me a pen, but he sure did a number on my heart.

I guess I would say that X was my first mature love. I came to him whole, complete, and finally (after 4 long years) over the heartbreak of losing K. I didn’t *need* him; I wanted him. Once I let my defenses down, we began to share something special. Gradually, I let him into my heart.

Shortly after we returned from the trip to the UK, I was fired from my job at the evil non-profit agency. He came to see me immediately when I told him and held me, let me cry…a few days later, we went to the wedding of one of my former coworkers. We went to his apartment between the ceremony and the reception, and that was when he told me he loved me.

“I wanted to say it before, but I didn’t want you to think I was just saying it because you got fired,” he said.

“I wanted to say it too, but I didn’t want you to think that I was just saying it because you came to see me,” I told him.

I loved all of them back, with all my heart. All of them let me down. J, by crushing my spirit, over and over and over again. K, by being unwilling and unable to commit to me. And X, by betraying my trust. All of them found it so easy to say the words, but not so easy to mean them.

And then there was the fourth…

In between J and K, I met Army Boy. AB had dated one of my best high school friends during the same time that I was with J. During Christmas break of my freshman year of college, I went to a New Year’s Eve party. AB and my friend had parted ways long before, and she was with someone else. AB and I started talking and flirting, and later in the night, he kissed me. I was afraid my friend would be bothered, but she gave him my phone number the next day when he wanted to call me and “apologize.” Not because he didn’t want to kiss me, but because he felt he shouldn’t have “taken advantage” when I was drunk. I told him I knew what I was doing and I didn’t regret anything…and said yes when he wanted to see me again.

We kept in touch, phone calls and letters, and when he came home for two weeks in the summer, we saw each other as much as we could. I was sad to see him go, but also reluctant to see myself in a relationship with someone so far away.

Soon after I returned to school my sophomore year, I got a late person-to-person phone call. He’d been drinking. (I guess nobody told him not to drink and dial…) He told me he loved me…I didn’t respond at first, and then I said “No, you don’t. You hardly even know me.”

He was upset. He asked me what it was that I didn’t like about him.

I told him nothing, besides the fact that he was stationed in Georgia. I told him that it might be different if we were closer, if we could see each other more…but I just couldn’t maintain a relationship like that over so many miles. And that was that. It broke my heart a little…

So what’s my point in all of this?

Only this…if there’s one thing I’ve learned in the fifteen years since I first met J, it’s that it’s worth it. All of it. The pain, the heartbreak, the tears…I learned something from all of them. I learned things about myself. I found strength I didn’t know I had.

And I’ve learned that taking a chance is always better than *not* taking it.


Some days, I don’t quite know who I am. I’m having one of those days today.

Last night, I put up a post saying that I had nothing to say. While it is in fact true that those were all posts that I enjoyed reading, and I would love for anyone who’s out there reading to enjoy as well, I decided that it just wasn’t really me.

In those moments when I’m not sure who I am, I sometimes try to be other people. That doesn’t work for me, and one faithful reader and dear friend took me to task for it. And he was right.

The thing is, I’ve been going through some things lately that for one reason or another are inappropriate to post in this forum. (It’s true, readers. I don’t share everything. Some things are just too personal…that’s what good old pen-and-paper journals are for.) But then I get stuck. I’m at a loss. I have nothing to say here, and I hate that…for, as I’ve mentioned before, it’s the fact that people are reading, the fact that people come here and come back, that makes me want to keep going.

And so I’m afraid…I’m afraid that if I post nothing, the people won’t come back. Call it a funk, call it bloggers block, call it whatever.

I deal in words…in my private life, in my (ahem) professional life, in my hopeful career(s). It’s scary to be a writer without any words. Because if I don’t have any words, I don’t have any idea who I am.

Today is one month until my birthday. I look at it with a mixture of anticipation and dread. On the one hand, I’m ready to leave my twenties behind. On the other, what lies ahead for me? Will I find that great job? Get published? Fall in love and have babies? Will I be the best me that I can possibly be?

I need to pick up, take charge, stop being driven by insecurity and fully embrace ME.

I am: twenty-nine and counting.

I am a teacher. A writer. A journalist. A daughter. A sister. A friend.

I am highly emotional. Empathetic. Insecure. Underemployed. Shy. Fiercely loyal to those I care about.

I hate to lose. I hate hurting people. I can’t stand having people angry with me.

I am terrified of bees.

I hope for the best, but often expect the worst.

I’ve had my heart broken twice, and my spirit broken once.

I love to dance. I can’t sing, but I wish I could.

I can’t wait to have a classroom of my own.

I am emotionally high maintenance.

I still believe in true love.

I write because I must

A fiction writing professor I had in college said that the above is the only appropriate answer, for a writer, to the question “Why do you write?”

I write because I must.

I do not write for fame and fortune. I do not write to be liked. I do not write because it makes me happy, or because it entertains my friends. I do not write for other people.

I write for me.

Because I must.

I read some other blogs that create in me a sense of blog envy. The prose is rich, nuanced, magnificent. At times, I feel foolish spouting my little ditties about local music and the Catholic church and what I ate for lunch last Tuesday (okay, I made that last one up. But you know what I mean) when others are writing these beautiful evocative stories and posting them for the world to enjoy.

Funny thing about writing. I started this blog about two years ago, but didn’t really write with much regularity until last October…when my world turned upside down and everything I thought I knew was wrong. I poured my heart out in those posts. My pain flowed through my fingertips, onto the blog page. It was cathartic. Cleansing. It was deeply personal.

But somehow, in some strange way, it was not nearly as deeply personal as my fiction (and in the rare instances that I write it, creative nonfiction). If I’ve shared that with you, well, then you know you’re not just anyone…this, more than anything, involves baring the deepest reaches of my soul.

I just started reading “The Time Traveler’s Wife” and noticed the little blurb on the back cover that says “This is her first novel.” I wonder. I wonder how many unpublished novels, beginnings, scraps of stories, are tucked away in a file on her computer titled “story ideas,” in a spiral-bound notebook beside her bed, on a legal pad in her desk drawer…I just wonder.

I write…because I must.